fooling around with poetry



I was sitting with my Mom at her doctor’s appointment yesterday while she had her ears flushed. She had recently been told she needed her ears cleaned by the Miracle Ear Hearing Aid people. She complained to them that the person who used to be in the office cleaned them for her. The Miracle Ear Hearing Aid people (who were new) said that whoever had done that was not supposed to have done it and they could not do it. So we ended up at the doctor’s office last week. But the wax was so impacted, Mom had to go home and put oil in her ears for a few days. Now we were back.

Image result for best american poetry 2005

I was reading David Lehman’s Foreword to The Best American Poetry 2005.  In it, he describes two reviews of Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems.


I have read this anthology I am sure, but I can’t find my copy of it. The two reviews were in the same April 2004 issue of Poetry. NEA chairman Dana Gioia found something of worth in the anthology, August Kleinzhaler, not so much. Lehman spent time responding to the negative review in a way that I found pleasing.

Image result for paul muldoon

Lehman also described Paul Muldoon, the Irish poet who had edited the 2004 volume, in such a way as to make me curious about him. This morning I read a couple of poems by him online (linked below) and decided I quite liked him. I like how he uses words and ideas even though I don’t always understand the references. He was born in June of 1951 making him just a few months older than me, so many of the references I do get.

As by Paul Muldoon | Poetry Foundation

The More a Man Has the More a Man Wants by Paul Muldoon | Poetry Foundation

Both of these poems are long, the second much longer than the first. I enjoyed reading them aloud to myself this morning so much that I bought a couple of volumes of Muldoon’s poetry from Amazon for a penny plus shipping: Moy Sand and Gravel and Horse Latitudes. First I checked them out on Amazon with the “Look Inside” option. The second book reminded me of the Doors. so I wanted to see what the deal was. The title poem of the book which conveniently comes first is divided into many sections with names of cities. I read the first one and I was sold:

I could still hear the musicians
cajoling those thousands of clay
horses and horsemen through the squeeze
when I woke beside Carlotta.
Life-size, also. Also terra-cotta.
The sky was still a terra-cotta frieze
over which her grandfather still held sway
with the set square, fretsaw, stencil,
plumb line, and carpenter’s pencil
his grandfather brought from Roma.
Proud-fleshed Carlotta. Hypersarcoma.
For now our highest ambition
was simply to bear the light of the day
we had once been planning to seize.
from “Horse Latitudes” by Paul Muldoon

Intolerant Liberals – Medium

This article is written by a conservative who voted for GW twice. Though it’s probably squarely part of my own echo chamber, I think he puts the flaws in the right wing’s rhetoric succinctly. Helpful. It reminded me of a poem by Calvin Trillin, David Lehman quoted in his Foreword mentioned above.

” In “A Poem of Republican Populism” [by Trillin] from The Nation of October 11, 2004, the Republican Party is the collective speaker.

Here’s the poem’s conclusion:

“Yes, though we always represent
The folks who sit in corporate boxes,
The gratifying paradox is —
And this we love; it’s just the neatest —
The other party’s called elitist.”

Lehman also mentions Rosie O’Donnell’s blog which he said she was writing in verse (This was 2004). I checked it out and found an amazing anti-Trump poem by someone called  Anthony Atamanuik (a quick google reveals he is a comedian and was “one of the Writers Who Never Talk on 30 Rock.”)

New Jersey Alters Its Bail System and Upends Legal Landscape – The New York Times

Some good news in a time of darkness for Jupe.

Viet Thanh Nguyen: By the Book – The New York Times

I like this author quite a bit and I love reading book recommendations.





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